"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."
(if you wold like to read the beginning of our adoption story click here)
I remember standing in the kitchen as pure terror poured over me...then an immediate feeling of shame and guilt because I wasn't ecstatic!
I was pregnant!!!
And the girls were moving in permanently in less than a week!!!
What would the court say about 5 kids 5 and under?!
Would Grammy and Granddaddy change their minds?!
Would I be able to handle all the negative comments that people so freely throw at me
without hurting someone or feeling like I was failing all of the kids?!
We had said we were going to leave it up to God and His timing.
Now it was time to walk the walk...only my feet didn't seem to be working quite as well!
So I did what every crazy momma headed to court pregnant with her 4/6th would do,
I went and bought a pair of Spanx.
I wasn't trying to hide it as much as not advertise it.
Looking back I can see how much joy I robbed myself by worrying so much. How sad!
We finally get to go to court!
With our lawyer!
So here is how I now know the juvenile court system in Gwinnett to work.
It is mediation, which in my language means, the lawyers all meet before going in front of the judge and come to an agreement on the situation, then present it to the judge.
If an agreement can't be made it goes to trial and our judge then would get very cranky!
Looking back this was a HUGE day and I was oblivious!
In my mind of course the girls were going to be with us!
(There wasn't really another option other than state custody)
It was the best thing for them, to stay with people they already knew.
And that was the purpose of the court, right?
To do what is in the best interest of the girls!
So I honestly was way more worried about popping out of my Spanx then by the
possibility that the court wouldn't grant us guardianship.
That day our lawyer met with all the other lawyers
(she had already done a lot of work behind the scenes).
She explained that Grammy and Granddaddy had taken a job in another state but that the girls had spent a lot of time with us and our children and that we were willing to take over guardianship.
At that time we met the girl's birth mom (the first official time).
She was tearful and seemed to be very concerned about how everyone perceived her.
She repeated over and over that she was not a bad mom no matter what any of us thought.
My heart went out to her.
I had also just met her Mom for the first time, who is raising G & A's older 2 brothers.
It was like God whispered in my ear as I listened to birth mom talk,
"she is some one's Emma..."
She is some one's little girl.
What if I was in her shoes?
What would I want?
What would I want for my Emma?
I would want mercy and grace and a chance to parent my girls.
We left that little room waiting to go before the judge and I, in a rare moment of bravery, went and sat beside her.
We small talked for a moment and then I just blurted out,
"I don't judge you on what you have done. You have a fresh start in my book.
But I will judge you on what you chose to do with the girls from this point on."
I then told her how we were all messed up and in need of saving.
Soon we were in front of the judge.
He granted our request for guardianship as agreed by all parties.
Although he was a little confused when he asked if we were family and assumed we were friends of the family.
Everything else stayed the same.
She could have supervised visitation with all 4 children once a week for 2 hours.
She would pay the supervisor and bring a diaper bag with all necessary baby things.
In the year prior to this she had only seen them 9 times but it did mean that we would need to keep that day open.
When we left court, it was like a giant weight had been lifted from my shoulders!
Our lawyer seemed pleased (now I know she was surprised that it hadn't been contested).
I remember hugging the girls when we got home and just being thrilled that for at least 6 months they would have a permanent home with us!
I was also relieved that I could finally share our news with our family and friends!
But first God had one more laugh for me...
You see I thought I was pretty hot stuff when I met Jim and drove a little black mustang (shout out to my sis in law Cathy).
When we had Caleb I switched to the truck, which suited this country girl just fine.
Then the unthinkable happened!!!
We could barely get 3 car seats across the back of the truck.
We had to get another vehicle which meant my little mustang would be traded in...
I took it pretty hard. I may have even shed a few tears!
But I ended up loving that little mini van and decided I was going to drive it into the ground.
So back to court day 10/15/09
That afternoon I found myself standing at a ford dealership looking at this...
Don't you have to wear a doily to drive that thing? Or at least have a few goats?
I knew I already had the home school thing working against me, now we were going to add 15 passenger van?!
It was at that point that I decided I needed a tattoo and some pink hair just as soon as possible!
All of a sudden my mini van was looking like a camaro!
We drove off the humbled owners of a 15 passenger van.
I had a few weeks to wait until we would pick up our swagger wagon.
Until then the only positive thing I could think of was that I was thankful we had the money to get it and I was thankful we needed it!
Only just a week later we were wondering if we made a BIG (15 pass van sized) mistake?!
(if you made it to the end of this post you deserve a prize! It was a long one! Come by my house to collect your 6 prizes for the day- Must be returned...but they do come with a very nice set of wheels:)